Registering to vote and casting your vote can seem a bit confusing. Below are some of the common myths about voting.
You can only vote once every four years.
Wrong! Whilst the General Election takes place around every four years or so there are lots of other elections you can vote in. You can vote to elect your local councillors, members of the European Parliament and if you live in Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales you can vote for devolved bodies too!
I can’t vote because I wasn’t born in the UK.
Not necessarily. If you are an EU or Commonwealth citizen can register to vote.
I have to register at home and I live somewhere else during term time.
Definitely not. You are absolutely within your right to register at both your home and term time address. However, this doesn’t mean you can vote twice. Sorry! You will have to decide where you would like to vote.
My vote won’t count anyway.
Out of 650 constituencies in the UK, research by NUS found that in over 200 of them students have the power to change the result completely. And it’s not just about voting either, before you even set foot in a polling station you can have an amazing impact by campaigning to the candidates on the issues that matter to you.
It’s too late to register now.
Nah, you’re fine! In fact, for most elections you can register up to 11 days before the vote. Plenty of time.
If I register to vote my details will get passed on.
When you first register to vote, unless you’ve opted out your details will go onto two registers, an electoral register and an open register. With the open register, which includes all of your contact details including name and address, anyone can buy this off your local authority and use your details. If you want to avoid this then you can tick a box during the registration process to opt out or once you are registered ring up your local council and ask them to take you off.
I don’t know my National Insurance number, so I can’t register.
This is tricky. You do need your national insurance number as a form of identification. Luckily you can find it here.
I don’t have time to fill in a form and put it in the post.
You’re in luck, if you live in England, Scotland or Wales then you can register online. Just go to www.gov.uk/register-to-vote. If you can register online then do it! It’s much quicker and easier!